In R'aya Mehemna, section of Nasso, (it is stated): "And they that are wise, shall shine as the splendour of the firmament" with this work of yours, which is the Book of Splendour (Sefer haZohar)— of the splendour of the imma ilaah, repentance; with these no trial is needed. Because in time to come Israel will taste of the Tree of Life, which is the book of the Zohar, and through which they will leave their exile with mercy. And through them shall be realised that "The Lord alone will lead him, and there is no strange god with Him." And the Tree of Good and E vil, i.e. proscription and permission, impurity and purity, will no longer domineer over Israel. Their sustenance will be from the side of the Tree of Life alone. There, there is no question from the side of evil and no disagreement from the spirit of impurity, as it is written: "And the spirit of impurity I shall remove from the earth." Thus the scholars of Torah will no longer be sustained by illiterate persons (amey haaretz), but from the side of the good, by those who consume what is pure, Kasher, permitted; nor by the mixed multitude (erev rav)— who consume what is impure, unfit, prohibited.... But while the Tree of Good and Evil domineers.... these sages, who are compared to the Sabbaths and Festivals, have nothing save what is given to them by those profane ones, analogous to the day of the Sabbath which has but what has been prepared for it on a week-day.

"However, when the Tree of Life will dominate, the Tree of Good-and Evil will be suppressed and the illiterate persons will have but what the scholars of Torah give them. They will be subjugated to them as if they did not exist in the world. Accordingly, the proscribed, the permitted, the impure and the pure will not be removed from the illiterate persons. As regards them— "There is no difference between the exile and the days of the Messiah, except for the (delivery from) servitude to the nations." For they did not taste of the Tree of Life, and will require the teachings of proscription and permission, impurity and purity." Until here from the R'aya Mehemna.

Now, at first glance, what appears evident to those unfamiliar with the subject matter from the contents of this passage is that the study of issur and hetter, and of the Order of Taharot, relates only to the Tree of Good and Evil. This is greatly surprising in itself, and contradicts the plain meaning of Scripture and the expositions of our sages, of blessed memory. For the whole Torah that has been revealed unto us and unto our children, is called "A tree of life unto those that lay hold on her," and not only the Book of the Zohar. Moreover, it was concealed in their days; also, the whole science of the Kabbalah was hidden in their days and concealed from all the scholars of Torah, except for a select few, and even then in a mode of "walking hiddenly" and not publicly, as mentioned in the Gemara. Thus R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, wrote that it is only in these latter generations that it is permitted and a duty to reveal this science, but not so in the earlier generations. R. Shimon bar Yochai, too, stated in the sacred Zohar that the permission to reveal was given to him and his associates only. Now, this itself, too, is a wondrous marvel. For if so, then the study of issur and hetter, and, a fortiori. of civil laws, should not defer the precept of prayer [which is arranged according to the secrets of the Zohar and the supreme unifications (yichudim)] for the savants as R. Shimon bar Yochai and his associates. But this is not the case, as mentioned in the Gemara : R. Shimon bar Yochai and his associates, and everyone whose study of Torah is his profession, do not interrupt (their study) for prayer. (This applies) even when dealing with civil laws, like Rav Yehuda, all of whose studies dealt with Nezikin; nevertheless, he prayed but every thirty days when reviewing his studies, as mentioned in the Gemara. Also, in Yerushalmi, first chapter of Berachot, R. Shimon bar Yochai is of the opinion that even for the reading of the Shema one interrupts only (the study of) Scripture, but not of Mishnah [( the study of) which is more than (the study of) Scripture, according to R. Shimon bar Yochai]. And he did not differentiate between the Order of Zeraim, Mo'ed and Kodshim, and Taharot and Nezikin ( Actually he contradicts his own opinion, given in several instances in R'aya Mehemna, that Mishnah is the shifcha ... And Scripture, the Torah of Moses, surely excells the Cabbalah, which is the matrunita, (as stated) in the R'aya Mehemna, ad loc.. while the Written Torah is the malka ( that is, the yesod of abba vested in z'eyr anpin, as stated by R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory ).) Also, we find that R. Shimon bar Yochai dealt a great deal with the argumentation of problems and solutions which are of the side of evil and of the spirit of impurity, even when he was in the cave. Moreover, he merited this by virtue of the affliction of the cave, as it is stated in the Gemara that he gave R.Pinchas ben Yair twenty-four solutions to every query, and said to him: "If you had not seen me like this..." ( In fact, their principal occupation in the cave must have been with the teachings of the Mishnayot, i.e. the sixhundred Orders extant in those days, until (the time of) our holy Master. The Zohar and the Tikunim he could have finished in two or three months; for surely he did not repeat the same thing twice.) Also, our sages, of blessed memory, said, that since the day the Temple was destroyed, the Holy One, blessed is He, has but the four cubits of Halacha

There is yet further cause to be exceedingly amazed. How is it possible that in the days of the Messiah they will no longer need to know the laws of issur and hetter, and of impurity and purity? How will they slaughter the sacrifices, and also (the animals) for common use, when they will not know the laws of drassa chalada and shehiya [which render the slaughtering unfit], and of a defective knife? Will there then be born a man who by his very nature will slaughter without shehiya and drassa ? Will the knife also be the way it should be, and remain forever without a defect? (There are) also many more laws (relating to) fat, and blood, and other prohibitions. They will also need to know about the impurity of a corpse, as it is written: "The youth of a hundred years old, will die." It will be further necessary to know about the impurity of a woman in confinement as it is written: "A pregnant woman, and one that gives birth together" thus a woman may bear children every day, from one relationship, nevertheless, the law with respect to the prohibition of her impurity does not change. There is no need to dwell on something so obvious. The reverse is well-known from throughout the Talmud and the Midrashim: [that] "An objection was raised that the law is the same for the time of the Messiah;" and Elijah comes to clarify all doubts; and "This section, Elijah will expound in the future...".

The statement that "the scholars of Torah will no longer be sustained by the illiterate (amey haaretz) ... nor by the mixed multitude (erev rav), who consume what is unfit, impure, and prohibited," Heaven forfend, is also not understandable. Even during the time of the second Temple they were not sustained by the "Illiterate persons who consume what is unfit and prohibited," Heaven forfend. For the scholars of Torah had fields and vineyards just like the illiterate persons, but nevertheless busied themselves with the study of issur and hetter, and of impurity and purity [all the pairs that lived at the time of the second Temple], and they raised disciples in the thousands and myriads, but the study of the esoteric was in secret....

But, in truth, when you will examine closely the above quoted text of the R'ayah Mehemna— "And the Tree of Good and Evil, which is issur and hetter.. ." (you will note that) he did not say "the teaching of issur and hetter" or "the laws of issur and hetter." Rather, he meant to say that "that which is proscribed," and "that which is permitted' is of the Tree of Good and Evil, i.e. ofkelipat nogah, as stated in Etz Chayim. That, too, is the etymological meaning of assur: the kelipah hovers over it and it cannot rise upwards like that which is muttar, i.e. it is not tied and bound (assur) to the kelipah, and is able to ascend by means of the person consuming it with his mind on G‑d, or by any person serving G‑d. For it is with the energy from this consumption that he studies and prays to G‑d. Thus, from the energy extracted from that food are formed the the letters of Torah and of the prayer which ascend to G‑d. This is so during the week. But on the Sabbath, the kelipat nogah itself has an uplifting along with the chitzoniyut of all the worlds. On the Sabbath it is, therefore, a duty to eat all delightful things, and to consume much meat and wine, even though during the week he would be called a glutton and drunkard. It is otherwise with a proscribed matter. It cannot ascend, either on the Sabbath or during the week-days, even if one were to pray and study with that energy [unless one ate to save an endangered life, which is permitted by our sages, of blessed memory, and becomes permissible ( hetter ) ]. But the study of Torah, even the laws of issur and hetter, impurity and purity [i.e. the Mishnayot, and the Beraytot in the Gemara, and the codifiers, which expound and clarify their words for practical application] these, precisely these are the fundamentals of the Oral Torah which is the Sefirah malchut of Atzilut, as mentioned in innumerable places in the sacred Zohar, and at the beginning of the Tikunim: "Malchut— that is the Mouth, and we call it the Oral Torah." And in Atzilut "He and His causations are one in them," that is, the light of the blessed En Sof unites itself in Atzilut in an absolute unity, so that He, and His will and wisdom [vested in His speech, which is called malchut ] are entirely one.

R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, in stating that the Mishnayot are in malchut of Yetzirah, meant to say the garment of malchut of Yetzirah in which malchut of Atzilut is vested. And malchut of Yetzirah is called shifcha in relation to malchut of Atzilut, while malchut of Beriah is called amma You can know this from what R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, stated that Scripture, i.e. the Written Torah, is in Asiyah, even while it is explicit in innumerable places in the Zohar and the writings of R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, that it is tiferet, the zeyr anpin of Atzilut! But (this means that) it vests itself in Asiyah. Thus it is stated explicitly in Sefer Hakavanot that Scripture, Mishnah, Talmud and Cabbalah are all in Atzilut; but Scripture vests itself as far as Asiyah, Mishnah as far as Yetzirah, and Talmud as far as Beriah.

Now, when malchut of Atzilut vests itself in kelipat nogah in order to extract the sparks that fell with the sin of Adam, and also the 288 sparks that fell with the shevirat hakelim malchut of Atzilut, too, is then referred to as "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" in relation to the zeyr anpin of Atzilut [which does not descend there and is referred to as Tree of Life].

Now, the investment of malchut in kelipat nogah is the mysterium of the "Exile of the Shechinah," "That man rules in man..," And this is the meaning of the statement in R'aya Mehemna: "But at the time that the Tree of Good and Evil dominates.... they ..." ... That is, at the time of the exile of the Shechinah [who effuses to the chitzonim that are in kelipat nogah, whence the mixed multitude (erev rav) elicits; and from their extract the scholars of Torah are supported in the exile], the principal service of man, and the purpose of the occupation with Torah and the commandments, is to disencumber the sparks, as known from R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory. Therefore, the principal mode of study is in the deliberation and argumentation of the law of issur and hetter, impurity and purity, in order to disencumber the permitted and pure from the proscribed and impure by means of the deliberation and argumentation of the law — with wisdom, understanding and knowledge. For as known, the Torah derives from chochmah. Thus it is only through ckochmah that they shall be disencumbered, i.e. the Supreme chochmah of Atzilut which is vested in malchut of Atzilut [the principium of the Oral Torah ( according to the principium of abba founded barta' )]— which (in turn) is vested in malchut of Yetzirah, the principium of the Mishnayot ( and the Beraytot that are vested in the kelipat nogah which corresponds to the world of Yetzirah; for there begins the aspect of the evil inherent in the nogah), as known from R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory.

Now, the intelligent will understand something yet more amazing, namely, what happens in Heaven above through the deliberation and elucidation of an adjudged ruling (halacha) ot the Gemara and earlier and latter codifiers [which prior to this deliberation was in a state of concealment] : by means of this (deliberation) one elevates this ruling from the kelipot that were hiding and concealing it in such a way that it was not known at all, or that its reasoning was not clearly understood. For the reason (of the halacha) is the principium of the Sefirah of the Supreme chochmah whence [by the breaking of the vessels] sparks fell into the kelipot. (These sparks) are there in a state of exile because the kelipot domineer over them and hide the wisdom of the Torah from the upper and lower beings. That is why it is stated in R'aya Mehemna that "The problematic query is of the side of evil."

Now, the celestial beings do not have the power to disencumber and elevate that which is in kelipat nogah because of the breaking (of the vessels). Only the terrestrial beings (can do that); for they are vested in a material body— "hide of the snake," which is of the kelipat nogah. They weaken its strength by crushing the passions and suppressing the sitra achra so that "all the workers of evil are dispersed." That is why the celestial beings come to hear novelties of Torah from the terrestrial beings, what they discover and reveal of the secrets of wisdom which until then were in bondage in the exile. And every one of Israel is able to reveal secrets of wisdom, ( to reveal) and to discover a new insight, whether it be in laws or in homiletics, in the revealed or in the esoteric parts (of Torah), according to the level of his soul's root. Indeed, one is obliged to do so in order to perfect his soul by elevating all the sparks that fell to its part and lot, as known. ( And every word of Torah, especially one of halacha, is a spark of the Shechinah, the word of the Lord. Thus it is stated in the Gemara: "The 'word of the Lord'— that refers to the halacha" the principium of malchut of Atzilut which garbs the chochmah of Atzilut, and they are (both) vested in malchut of Yetzirah, and by the breaking of the vessels descended into the kelipat nogah). And to this pertains what is stated in the Gemara: "The Holy One, blessed is He, says: whoever occupies himself with Torah ... I account it to him as if he had redeemed Me and My children from among the nations of the world."

But when the Shechinah will emerge from the kelipat nogah [after the extraction of the sparks shall be completed and the evil shall be separated from the good, "And all the workers of evil will be dispersed," and the Tree of Good and Evil will not domineer because the good shall depart from it], then the occupation with the Torah and commandments will not be for the purpose of disencumbrance, but to consolidate more sublime yichudim, in order to elicit more orot, transcending Atzilut, as mentioned by R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory. And everything will be by means of the pnimiyut of Torah, by performing the commandments with supreme devotions directed towards supreme orot. For the root of the commandments is ever so high, in the blessed En Sof.

( As for the statement of our sages, of blessed memory, that the commandments will be abrogated in the future, this refers to the time of the resurrection of the dead. In the days of the Messiah, however, prior to the resurrection of the dead, they will not be abrogated).

And that is why the principal occupation with Torah will also be with the pnimiyut of the commandments, and their hidden reasons. The revealed aspects, however, will be manifest and known to every one of Israel, by an innate knowledge, without oblivion. Only the mixed multitude (erev rav) will have to deal with these, because they will not merit to taste from the Tree of Life, i.e. the pnimiyut of the Torah and the commandments. They will need to occupy themselves with Mishnah, in order to weaken (by the occupation with Torah) the power of the sitra achra which cleaves unto them, so that it will not dominate them— causing them to sin. Thus it is written: "And the sinner at the age of a hundred years old, will be cursed;" this refers to the sinners of the mixed multitude. Also, on the practical level, they will need the detailed rulings of proscription and impurity more than Israel. For (the latter) nothing shall occur that is unfit, impure, and proscribed, as "there shall not befall..." It is also possible, and would appear so, that (the Israelites) will know all the fundamentals of the revealed part of the Torah from the pnimiyut of the Torah, like our father Abraham, peace be to him. Thus they will not need to occupy themselves therewith at all. At the time of the second Temple, however, they needed to occupy themselves (therewith), not just for the practical application of the law, but, and this is the principal purpose of the Divine service, to weaken the power of the sitra achra and to elevate the sparks of holiness by means of Torah and worship, as explained elsewhere.

After these words and this truth, the above passage from the R'ayah Mehemna dealing with "the Tree of Good and Evil..." [i.e. the kelipat nogah, which is basically this world, as mentioned in Etz Chayim ], will be well understood with additional elucidation, and suffice this for the initiated.

What he wrote to the Chassidic community to console them doubly for salvation over the passing of the Rabbi, famous Gaon, holy man of G‑d, "Lamp of Israel, pillar of the right hand, mighty hammer," our master R. Menachem Mendel, may his soul rest in Eden.